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Italy shore excursions are restricted to cruise guided excursions.


usbeef
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It appears that all cruise lines are enforcing this requirement.

 

I had thought it was imposed by the Italian government but after reading more about it, this is coming from the cruise lines.  It is their way of controlling things, to maintain in their words "the same high standards of health and safety as on board".

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I'm not sure what to make of these. Azamara seems to be positioning them (to cruisers who have called with questions) as something being required by the port authorities rather than some general mandate by the Italian government. Of course, that lays open the question of whether it is down to each individual port....?

 

Part of me believes such restrictions are somewhat logical from Italy's point of view, as up until now they have not allowed ANY ships to call on ports in Italy other than those that have carried only eligible EU passengers and only in their "bubble" excursions. So perhaps Italy views this as the next logical step in the process of restoring entry to cruise lines.

 

On the other hand, the communications from cruise lines throughout COVID have left me with somewhat of a lack of trust in their transparency, and as euro cruiser says, it is difficult to find any kind of published confirmation (other than the cruise lines' own websites).

 

For the time being I am not a huge fan of the limited itineraries and restrictions on the Med cruises so far. I am tentatively thinking of a trip to Italy on my own in April 2022 -- as far as I know now, I would be free to do whatever roaming I'd like once I have entered Italy with the required vaccination and met the testing requirements du jour.

 

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2 hours ago, cruisemom42 said:

For the time being I am not a huge fan of the limited itineraries and restrictions on the Med cruises so far.

 

We have Italian ports booked for June '22 on Celebrity, which are offering SOME excursions....nothing is appealing to me among the offerings in Naples.    It seems from this post we won't be able to get off the ship unless we use one of their trips.  Wonder if its the same for the Greek Isles portion of our back to back.  Maybe it'll change by then....🤞...if not, would you recommend Herculaneum if you have had that experience?  Have been to Pompeii...similar excavation apparently.

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2 minutes ago, Oceangoer2 said:

 

We have Italian ports booked for June '22 on Celebrity, which are offering SOME excursions....nothing is appealing to me among the offerings in Naples.    It seems from this post we won't be able to get off the ship unless we use one of their trips.  Wonder if its the same for the Greek Isles portion of our back to back.  Maybe it'll change by then....🤞...if not, would you recommend Herculaneum if you have had that experience?  Have been to Pompeii...similar excavation apparently.

 

Things could certainly change by June of next year. Fingers crossed. Also the requirements seem to vary by country and even by area within that country -- for example, during the cruises that were running this summer the Greek government might restrict excursions to ship-offered ones at some ports (where COVID infections were high in the region or on that island) and not at others. Flexibility and willingness to go with the flow a bit will be needed for those cruising in Europe in the foreseeable future.

 

Regarding your question about Herculaneum, yes it is similar to Pompeii in some ways -- it is an excavation of a Roman town buried by Vesuvius's eruption.  Depending on how keen you are on this kind of history, there are also differences. There are fewer shops and commercial establishments and no Forum. For the most part the excavated area includes houses of various types, from huge ones overlooking what would have been the sea, to smaller multi-story "apartment" buildings. Plus there are a number of well-preserved frescoes and mosaics -- and preserved wood, which you don't see at Pompeii (due to the differing way in which each city was destroyed).

 

Herculaneum is also smaller than Pompeii and a bit closer to Naples. Easy to do on your own (if allowed) and could be paired with something else, such as a hike up Vesuvius.

 

 

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5 minutes ago, cruisemom42 said:

 

Things could certainly change by June of next year. Fingers crossed. Also the requirements seem to vary by country and even by area within that country -- for example, during the cruises that were running this summer the Greek government might restrict excursions to ship-offered ones at some ports (where COVID infections were high in the region or on that island) and not at others. Flexibility and willingness to go with the flow a bit will be needed for those cruising in Europe in the foreseeable future.

 

Regarding your question about Herculaneum, yes it is similar to Pompeii in some ways -- it is an excavation of a Roman town buried by Vesuvius's eruption.  Depending on how keen you are on this kind of history, there are also differences. There are fewer shops and commercial establishments and no Forum. For the most part the excavated area includes houses of various types, from huge ones overlooking what would have been the sea, to smaller multi-story "apartment" buildings. Plus there are a number of well-preserved frescoes and mosaics -- and preserved wood, which you don't see at Pompeii (due to the differing way in which each city was destroyed).

 

Herculaneum is also smaller than Pompeii and a bit closer to Naples. Easy to do on your own (if allowed) and could be paired with something else, such as a hike up Vesuvius.

 

 

You are such a travel expert...really appreciate your help and knowledge.  Would have trouble with DH hiking...back issues.  Trying to choose excursions he can manage and if it's walking, he won't mind waiting at a local cafe while I explore.

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I dug through several Italian web sites related to Covid and through a couple of newspapers looking for any mention of these restrictions coming from the Italian government and I came up with nothing.  That doesn't mean it isn't the case, just that I couldn't find any evidence of it.

 

Now, based on my albeit limited research, I think this is coming from the cruise lines.  It's a way to recoup some of the lost revenue from the past eighteen months as well as to limit exposure to (or at least seem to) the virus.

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52 minutes ago, Oceangoer2 said:

You are such a travel expert...really appreciate your help and knowledge.  Would have trouble with DH hiking...back issues.  Trying to choose excursions he can manage and if it's walking, he won't mind waiting at a local cafe while I explore.

 

At Herculaneum there is a visitor center overlooking the ruins (which are several dozen feet below modern ground level) and there are outside benches with a view down into the excavations or across a pleasant green lawn. The closest bars (in the Italian sense, e.g., where you can get a coffee and pastry) and restaurants outside the gates would be a walk of a couple blocks. 

 

Also, Herculaneum recently reopened their small onsite museum which was closed for a long time. It has some interesting pieces and only takes 15-20 minutes for a quick look-see if you have free time. 

 

Saying that also reminds me -- speaking of differences between Herculaneum and Pompeii -- that Herculaneum also has the boat houses where excavations in the last decade or so have discovered a number of skeletons of people who (they think) were waiting by the water's edge, hoping for rescue. One of the boat houses -- really just a barrel-vaulted basement -- was left as it was discovered, so you can still see some of the skeletons...  This is in contrast to Pompeii where they made plaster casts of some of the victims but do not really have many skeletal remains. 

 

These skeletons have been a rich source for new research -- there are some good documentaries on TV from time to time about the findings, one of which is that both the rich and the not-so-rich living there seemed to have eaten a well rounded and nourishing diet.  

Edited by cruisemom42
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6 hours ago, euro cruiser said:

I dug through several Italian web sites related to Covid and through a couple of newspapers looking for any mention of these restrictions coming from the Italian government and I came up with nothing.  That doesn't mean it isn't the case, just that I couldn't find any evidence of it.

 

Now, based on my albeit limited research, I think this is coming from the cruise lines.  It's a way to recoup some of the lost revenue from the past eighteen months as well as to limit exposure to (or at least seem to) the virus.

 

Some additional information that has been dug up by someone since this morning regarding the regulations (it's Post #45 if the link doesn't take you to it directly):

 

 

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7 hours ago, Oceangoer2 said:

 

We have Italian ports booked for June '22 on Celebrity, which are offering SOME excursions....nothing is appealing to me among the offerings in Naples.    It seems from this post we won't be able to get off the ship unless we use one of their trips.  Wonder if its the same for the Greek Isles portion of our back to back.  Maybe it'll change by then....🤞...if not, would you recommend Herculaneum if you have had that experience?  Have been to Pompeii...similar excavation apparently.

Oh my goodness.  Take a deep breath and understand that the "rules" change on nearly a daily basis and predicting the situation in June is like predicting what will happen in 2025!  Nobody knows.  Traveling these days is truly an adventure and always a work in progress.  My advice is just relax and forget about the issue until you get closer to your final payment date.    As to Herculaneum I will give you a yes and no answer.  It depends on how much you enjoy visiting ruins.  Herculaneum is certainly worthy of a visit for those interesting in ruins but it is significantly different from Pompeii.  The ruins are actually in a town (Ercolano) (the ruins are within walking distance of the train station) and are more compact (but extensive) when compared to Pompeii.  DW and I have enjoyed Herculaneum (twice) and one time actually did it the same day we visited Pompeii (used a discounted combination ticket) when we had a rental car.    But there are many options from Naples (you could go to this port a dozen times and do something different with each visit).  

 

Hank

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Wow.  It's hard enough to read that kind of gobbledygook in your native language but to try and plow through it in a secondary one ...

 

I'm willing to believe what the OP of this information claims, although I did not find the quote he offered anywhere in the document he linked (though I admit that my eyes were crossing as I got deeper into it).

 

Cynic that I am, I can also easily imagine a conversation between representatives of the major cruise lines with representatives of the Italian government along the lines of "if you want us to bring back tourists on our cruise ships you need to help us out by forcing them to use our excursions", of course for health and safety reasons.

Edited by euro cruiser
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13 hours ago, Hlitner said:

Oh my goodness.  Take a deep breath and understand that the "rules" change on nearly a daily basis and predicting the situation in June is like predicting what will happen in 2025!  Nobody knows. 

LOL....I have no trouble "breathing"...just asked a VERY knowledge poster, who has helped many of us here on CC, for an opinion.  Any sophisticated traveller knows we are subject to 'rules' change. I think you need to lighten up a little and take these questions for what they are...not just bait for you to show us how your travel experiences are superior to ours.

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1 hour ago, Oceangoer2 said:

LOL....I have no trouble "breathing"...just asked a VERY knowledge poster, who has helped many of us here on CC, for an opinion.  Any sophisticated traveller knows we are subject to 'rules' change. I think you need to lighten up a little and take these questions for what they are...not just bait for you to show us how your travel experiences are superior to ours.

Ahhh but the truth of the matter is that experience is almost worthless in the current situation.  Every day of travel is essentially a new experience.  And dealing with the anxiety of constant testing, and wondering "what if I test positive?"  is a factor that never disappears.

 

Hank

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Yes, it is a regulation by the Italian government and it´s up since cruising restarted in Italy last year in August. And no, it´s no rule of a single port or the cruise line.

 

There are long discussions on the RCI and NCL boards (Harmony of the Seas and Norwegian Epic). Both ships start in Barcelona and both ships call Palma de Mallorca where all vaccinated pax are free to roam around on their own. All other ports are Italian and you have to book a bubble shore tour with the cruise line.

 

It´s the same for MSC, Costa, TUI Cruises, AIDA... and all others calling an Italian port. I just returned from the MSC Seashore and I couldn´t go ashore on my own in Marseille/France or Genova/Italy. We decided to stay onboard anyway as we only had 3 nights to explore the ship.

 

BTW, you can´t go ashore on your own in Valletta/Malta either. Also a governmental regulation.

 

steamboats

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34 minutes ago, steamboats said:

There are long discussions on the RCI and NCL boards (Harmony of the Seas and Norwegian Epic). Both ships start in Barcelona and both ships call Palma de Mallorca where all vaccinated pax are free to roam around on their own. All other ports are Italian and you have to book a bubble shore tour with the cruise line.

Kind of funny, we boarded in Rome on the Epic and all of our Italy excursions had to be on a ship tour, yet we did two days before and after the cruise in Rome on our own with no restrictions. Didn't really make much sense, but just went with the flow!!

 

 Also, at least on NCL, all of the Naples excusions allowed a few hours of free time without the group. Not sure how they pulled that off, but I didn't complain.

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1 hour ago, steamboats said:

It´s the same for MSC, Costa, TUI Cruises, AIDA... and all others calling an Italian port. I just returned from the MSC Seashore and I couldn´t go ashore on my own in Marseille/France or Genova/Italy. We decided to stay onboard anyway as we only had 3 nights to explore the ship.

 

I thought these original restrictions were made when those lines were restarting earlier and were not mandated that passengers be vaccinated. Is it still the same?  Are those lines sailing with only vaccinated passengers now, or a mix?

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From the US Army:

 

https://www.army.mil/article/249384/cdc_vaccination_card_works_for_green_pass

 

Apparently, someone in authority in Italy thought it was a bad idea to bar vaccinated US citizens from spending money in Italy.  

 

As for the cruise industry and Covid; as Mark Twain said, "If you don’t like the weather...    ....just wait a few minutes."

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3 hours ago, steamboats said:

Yes, it is a regulation by the Italian government and it´s up since cruising restarted in Italy last year in August. And no, it´s no rule of a single port or the cruise line.

 

 I just returned from the MSC Seashore and I couldn´t go ashore on my own in Marseille/France or Genova/Italy. We decided to stay onboard anyway as we only had 3 nights to explore the ship.

 

Was the restriction in Marseille limited to Marseille?  Or was it across the entire country of France?  I can’t see anything that shows that France has a countrywide ban on independent touring from cruise ships similar to Italy. 
 

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2 hours ago, Jim in OR said:

Was the restriction in Marseille limited to Marseille?  Or was it across the entire country of France?  I can’t see anything that shows that France has a countrywide ban on independent touring from cruise ships similar to Italy. 
 

If you look on the MSC web site, it states that all excursions in Europe must be done thru the cruiseline.

MSC Health & Safety - Europe Cruises| MSC Cruises (msccruisesusa.com)

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12 hours ago, cruisemom42 said:

 

I thought these original restrictions were made when those lines were restarting earlier and were not mandated that passengers be vaccinated. Is it still the same?  Are those lines sailing with only vaccinated passengers now, or a mix?

 

No, those restrictions regarding the shore tours were never lifted in Italy since the restart.

 

RCI is saily with vaxxed pax 18+, NCL is sailing 100% vaxxed, TUI Cruises is sailing 100% vaxxed, MSC and Costa are mixed.

 

RCI and NCL advertised the cruises with individual shore tours for vaxxed pax and then they had to step back.

 

steamboats

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9 hours ago, Jim in OR said:

Was the restriction in Marseille limited to Marseille?  Or was it across the entire country of France?  I can’t see anything that shows that France has a countrywide ban on independent touring from cruise ships similar to Italy.

 

I have only been to Marseille... so I can´t say whether it´s countrywide. But... TUI Cruises and AIDA do call French ports (Cannes, Marseille) and they had only ship tours allowed (TUI Cruises is sailing with a fully vaxxed ship). I recently read that TUI Cruises can now allow individual shore tours in Spain and France. But so far I haven´t seen any confirmation by TUI Cruises yet.

 

steamboats

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TUI Cruises just confirmed on FB that individual tours are allowed in France (Toulon, Ajaccio/Corse) and Spain (Valencia, Barcelona, Palma). Here´s a link to their website (in German, but have a look on the countries and the "hooks" in the second column - information for Canary Islands, Caribbean, Dubai cruises are still pending). For Italy there´s still no hook in the second column.

 

steamboats

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Posted (edited)

Will be on the Viking Venus  Oct 12, in Malta. We will visit  Sicily and Sardinia , Italian ports. 

We can walk around  in Malta and in Spain.  So looking forward to seeing more ancient sites, churches and lovely landscapes of these island and of course sailing in the Med again.  Ending in Barcelona   and staying a another night. Cannot wait to eat Spanish gazpacho  and drink CAVA ! Also love the fine Italian wines too. 

It will be the second time on a cruise during the time of COVID.  Got to see the beautiful island of Bermuda in July on Viking ship.  Life is good. 

Edited by Azulann
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